The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be extending opportunities for special public access to the Hilo Restricted Watershed for the control of feral cattle.
As part of its core mission, DOFAW is charged with protecting watershed areas from damage caused by feral cattle. To accomplish this, DOFAW requests the continued participation of the hunting community.
During the previous four months this special access hunt has been conducted at Pu‘u ‘O‘o, a total of 124 hunters assisted in removing 88 feral cattle from the Hilo watershed.
The department appreciates these past efforts and would like to extend the opportunity.
Special access will be granted for Saturdays only, beginning April 5 through the end of June. Hunters will be selected through a random lottery drawing to be Tuesday, March 18, at the East Hawaii DOFAW office at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo.
The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 13. Applications can be obtained at the East and West Hawaii DOFAW offices or online at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/.
These actions are pursuant to Hawaii Administrative Rules 13-124-7, Indigenous, Endangered, Threatened, and Injurious Wildlife, and Introduced Wild Birds, and as authorized by Hawaii Revised Statutes; 183-19 Exclusion of Livestock From Forest Reserves, Game Management Areas, and Public Hunting Areas and Title 13, Chapter 123, Unit D, Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting.
Feral pigs and sheep may be hunted as usual. No dogs allowed.
Special access will be temporarily granted in the Pu‘u ‘O‘o area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed by permit only on the following dates:
• April 5, 12, 19, 26.
• May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31.
• June 7, 14, 21, 28.
Applications must consist of a minimum of five and maximum of 10 licensed hunters as a group.
Applicants may only submit their name on a single application. Duplicate entries will be discarded. Results of the random lottery drawing will be made available at the East Hawaii DOFAW office, as well as online at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw.
The lottery drawing will assign positions to all applications received by the deadline. The first 13 applications drawn will be awarded the available Saturday hunt dates (as listed above) in their respective order.
The remaining applicants on this lottery drawing list will be offered additional hunt dates if/when they become available, in their respective order.
Applications will continue to be accepted at the East Hawaii DOFAW office beyond the March 13 deadline and will be added to the bottom of the list in the order they are received.
Selected applicants must confirm acceptance of their assigned hunt period by calling the East Hawaii DOFAW office at (808) 974-4221 no later than noon on the Wednesday preceding their assignment. At that time, the primary hunter may also substitute or add licensed hunters up to the maximum of 10. No hunter may participate in more than one Pu‘u ‘O‘o access hunt during this lottery.
Permits will be issued and/or validated at the entrance gate into Pu‘u ‘O‘o near the 22 mile marker along Saddle Road on the Saturday morning of the assigned hunt.
If selected applicants decline or do not call to confirm by the deadline, the hunt will be offered to the next application on the list. These applicants will be notified by phone. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed.
Access to the Hilo Restricted Watershed will be provided at Pu‘u ‘O‘o, and a 4x4 vehicle is required. ATVs will be allowed on the access roads and are highly encouraged.
Again, no dogs will be allowed. There will be a bag limit of two cattle of either sex per licensed hunter and hunters should make every effort to harvest and use all usable meat.
Contact the DOFAW office in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 for additional details regarding the feral cattle control program, application process and/or special accommodations.